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Indiana University Bloomington


Welcome to the Composition Program of the Indiana University Department of English. There are four major components to our Program, stretching from first-year writing to the Ph.D. degree.

  • 1st-Year Writing: Most students fulfill the University Writing: English Composition Requirement by enrolling in W131 or W170, (provided they have not already satisfied this requirement through their SAT, ACT, or AP-Composition scores).

    ENG W131: Elementary Composition, is a one-semester course that offers instruction and practice in the critical reading and writing skills required for college-level work, with an emphasis on written assignments that call for synthesis, analysis, and arguments based on sources.

    ENG W170: Projects in Reading and Writing, offers the same practice in critical reading and writing that W131 emphasizes, doing so through sustained inquiry into an over-arching cultural issue or question. Topics vary by section.

    Read more about the requirements and policies pertaining to first-year writing classes.
  • Students in class writing and listening
  • Upper-division Writing Classes: First-year students who have completed or are exempted from the composition requirement are encouraged to enroll in any of the Department’s 200-level W, G, or L courses. All students who are interested in further developing their writing abilities are invited to pursue W202 (English Grammar Review), W231 (Professional Writing Skills), W240 (Community Service Writing), W270 (Argumentative Writing), or W350 (Advanced Expository Writing). Read course descriptions and policies for writing classes.
  • Major Concentration in Public and Professional Writing: The Public and Professional Writing concentration emphasizes the critical analysis and production of writing and written discourse in professional, academic, and civic contexts. This concentration provides English majors with a strong core of abilities in reading and writing, as well as an opportunity to build rhetorical knowledge in a variety of modes, sites, and genres of language use. Read more on this concentration within the English Major.
  • The Composition Program also offers a Ph.D. with Concentration in Rhetoric. Read more about this graduate concentration.

If you have additional questions, feel free to contact the English Department, call us at (812) 855-8224, or stop by the main office in Ballantine Hall, room 442. The office is open Monday-Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm.

The Culbertson Endowment

The Culbertson Speaker Series is hosted by the department's Culbertson Endowment, a substantial fund whose basic aim is the improvement of undergraduate student writing and the teaching of undergraduate student writing at Indiana University. For graduate students specializing in Composition, Literacy, and Culture, the Endowment provides fellowships, grants for research or course design, and support for attending national conferences on the study of rhetoric and writing.

The Speaker Series engages students and visiting speakers in disciplines such as rhetoric and composition, literary theory, language studies, cultural studies, and philosophy. Held annually, the Speaker Series has brought to campus such noted scholars as Philip Lopate, Deborah Brandt, Victor Villanueva, Tom Fox, Victor Vitanza, John Trimbur, Diana George, David Blakesley, Susan Bordo, David Shumway, Lisa Nakamura, and Ann duCille.


Dana Anderson, Ph.D.
Director of First-Year Composition
Coordinator of W231 Professional Writing
Associate Professor of English
Ballantine Hall 447

Kathy Overhulse Smith, Ph.D.
Composition Coordinator
Director of Basic Writing & Special Programs
Ballantine Hall 404

Christine R. Farris, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Faculty Liaison Advance College Project (ACP) W131
Ballantine Hall 449

John Schilb, Ph.D.
Culbertson Chair of Writing
Director of Writing and Rhetorical Studies
Professor of English
Ballantine Hall 478

Scot Barnett, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
Ballantine Hall 474

Justin Hodgson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
Ballantine Hall 476

Katherine Silvester
Assistant Professor
Coordinator of Multilingual Writing
Ballantine Hall 458